Courier (typeface)

Courier is a monospaced slab serif typeface designed to resemble the output from a strike-on typewriter. The typeface was designed by Howard "Bud" Kettler in 1955. The design of the original Courier typeface was commissioned in the 1950s by IBM for use in typewriters, but they did not secure legal exclusivity to the typeface and it soon became a standard font used throughout the typewriter industry. As a monospaced font, it has recently found renewed use in the electronic world in situations where columns of characters must be consistently aligned. It has also become an industry standard for all screenplays to be written in 12 point Courier or a close variant.

The font was later redrawn by Adrian Frutiger for the IBM Selectric Composer series of electric typewriters.

12 point Courier New was also the U.S. State Department's standard typeface until January 2004, when it was replaced with 14 point Times New Roman. Reasons for the change included the desire for a more "modern" and "legible" font.

Kettler was once quoted about how the name was chosen. The font was nearly released with the name "Messenger." After giving it some thought, Kettler said, "A letter can be just an ordinary messenger, or it can be the courier, which radiates dignity, prestige, and stability."


Courier New

Courier New is a version of Courier introduced with Windows 3.1, which also included raster Courier fonts. The font family comprises Courier New, Courier New Bold, Courier New Italic, Courier New Bold Italic. Courier New features higher line space than the Courier. Punctuation marks are reworked to make the dots and commas heavier.

Version 2.76 or later includes Hebrew and Arabic glyphs, with most of Arabic added on non-italic fonts. The styling of Arabic glyphs is similar to those found in Times New Roman, but are adjusted to be monospaced.

Courier New has been updated to version 5.00; which includes over 3100 glyphs, covering over 2700 characters per font.

Although the fonts are produced by Monotype (who also own the Courier trademark and the Courier New copyrights), only Ascender Corporation sells the fonts commercially. The Ascender fonts have 'WGL' at the end of the font name, and cover only the WGL characters.

Code page variants

Courier New Baltic, Courier New CE, Courier New Cyr, Courier New Greek, Courier New Tur are aliases created in the FontSubstitutes section of WIN.INI by Windows. These entries all point to the master font. When an alias font is specified, the font's character map contains a different character set from the master font and the other alias fonts.

Courier Std

CourierStd, CourierStd-Bold, CourierStd-BoldOblique, CourierStd-Oblique are fonts distributed with Adobe Reader 6, as a replacement for the PostScript Courier fonts. The stroke terminators are flat instead of round. It contains code pages 1252, Windows OEM Character Set. The font is Hinted and Smoothed for all point sizes. It contains OpenType layout tables aalt, dlig, frac, ordn, sups for Default Language in Latin script; dlig for TUR language in Latin script. Each font contains 374 glyphs.


In ASCII art

Courier is commonly used in ASCII art because it is a monospace font and is available almost universally. "Solid-style" ASCII art uses the darkness/lightness of each character to portray an object, which can be quantified in pixels (here in pt. 12):
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
21 25 18 25 24 19 28 24 14 15 25 16 30 21 20 27 27 18 21 17 19 17 25 20 21 21
25 29 21 26 29 25 27 31 18 19 28 20 36 24 20 25 28 30 28 24 27 22 30 26 23 24
` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - = ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ +
2 16 19 20 23 23 23 16 26 23 24 6 12 9 9 36 30 26 20 7 24 21 13 13 9 13
[ ] ; ' , . / { } | : " < > ?
17 17 8 11 4 7 4 8 16 16 13 8 8 9 9 13

In programming

Courier New is used extensively in programming. For example, online forums, such as phpBB, will use Courier New for code; on Microsoft Windows it is a default monospace font for a variety of applications, another one being fixedsys. Below is a sample of code in Visual C++ written using Courier New:

See also


  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.

External links

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